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Super Bowl Watch Party Menu Ideas

Super Bowl 2023
Eagles vs. Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII

Bachelor on the Cheap

Super Bowl Sunday, a day where millions of NFL fans and non-fans who just like a party and the commercials, gather around televisions to celebrate what should be a federal holiday on Monday, so people can recover from the festivities...

If you're having a watch party, here are a few ideas for a crowd pleasing menu to help you celebrate.

A Pizza Buffet:  This is a popular Super Bowl menu to go with and the easiest, but also the most expensive.  There's not near as much cooking involved aside from creating some sides... (see what I did there, with "aside"... I crack myself up...) and the clean up is easier, for the most part no pots, pans, utensils, crock pots, warming bins to wash after the party is over.  All you have to do is order a variety of pizzas, perhaps a few ready sides from your favorite joint and lay it all out buffet style.  Family and friends can add to the feast by bringing a side or dessert.  Keep in mind, pizza delivery will really be delayed on this day, because other watch parties are doing the same thing you are.  Super Bowl Sunday is a SLAMMING BUSY day for pizza joints.  Typical delivery times of 30-45 minutes are out the window, especially for bulk orders.  You'll need to time it, placing your order early is recommended.  TIP:  You can actually place your order online or use your favorite pizza joint's app (most places) WAY ahead of time and set the delivery time.  Some local establishments may not have this feature. 

Taco Bar:  This one is probably the most versatile self serve menu and perhaps the cheapest to put together.  Everybody loves tacos and bonus, it's multi-purpose!  In setting up for tacos, you've also set up a salad bar.  Whether it's just a few buddies and their significant others to feed or a houseful of guests, creating a taco bar saves you time and the crock pot is your friend.  Staying warm all game long, people can help themselves to tacos throughout the festivities, it's a low maintenance, low prep work required meal.   You can brown the ground beef and taco season it the night before and refrigerate or brown it the morning before company arrives for the games.  If you don't have more than one crock pot, borrow one or two, think bean dip, queso, perhaps a chicken taco option.  Ask party guests to bring something with those tacos in mind, be it taco shells, tortilla chips, salad, guacamole, soda or the like, because as the host, this minimizes time in the kitchen and maximizes your time watching the game and mingling with guests.  The clean up for a Taco Bar won't be as easy as for a pizza buffet, but if you use paper plates, plastic cups and utensils, it's still a fairly easy make tidy chore.

Chili Bar:  Here's another menu that's pretty easy to prep and crowd pleasing.  Again, the crock pot is your friend and you can probably talk one of your friends into bringing their version of chili, maybe a white chili in a crock pot.  Heck, turn it into a contest, open things up to all guests and award a prize for best chili.   The best part, chili goes well with so many things!  There's the classic bowl of chili, with crackers or Fritos along with the toppers of chopped onion, shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.  There's chili over rice (a personal favorite), there's chili over spaghetti noodles Cincinnati style, and if you feel like going all out you can do chili dogs.  TIP:  Chili is always better tasting the next day, giving all those ingredients time to get all happy together.  Make your chili the day before, not only for the better flavor, but so you can focus on the little party details on game day.   And while this is a very tasty menu, a chili bar makes for the messiest clean up, even if you go with paper bowls and plasticware.  There's all the crock pots, serving utensils, serving trays for sides and toppers and the cookware you used to make the rice, spaghetti, the hot dogs, etc....

BBQ Bar:  This is arguably the tastiest menu option, especially if you take great pride and pleasure in smoking meats.  Pulled pork is the easiest way to go, it serves a big crowd but MUST be done the day before.  Ribs are another option and slicing up a couple racks makes for some great finger smacking good individual servings.  Brisket is a real crowd pleaser but an expensive option.  BBQ chicken is a nice wallet friendly alternative if you're going with a two meat menu, but if you have plenty of pulled pork and a few sides, you really don't need anything else.  Ask guests to bring buns, chips, convince some guests to bring mac & cheese, baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad, pasta salad.  Don't forget the pickles for those pulled pork sandwiches!  Again, the crock pot is your friend, so are one or two warming trays if you have them.   If you stick with pulled pork, this is one of the more economical menu options.  Clean up isn't as easy as a pizza buffet, but not as messy as a chili bar.

Burger/slider Bar:  As tasty and guest friendly burger/sliders are, this option is going to keep you away from the TV more than any other menu.  Burgers are best freshly grilled, so you'll be flipping, rather than watching.  And even if you went with warming bins to hold burgers as they come off the grill, you're still running back and forth from grill, to kitchen, to buffet table.   The attraction to doing burgers or sliders is cost, this is a relatively inexpensive menu to put together, but with maximizing your time watching the game in mind, I would recommend meatball sliders instead.  You can prep the meatballs the day before, bake them off the morning of the game and keep them warm in a crock pot or warming bin for the game.  Served with a little marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese makes for a tasty comfort food bite!  Recommended sides:  Salads...  Ask guests to bring lettuce, potato, pasta and fruit salads.  You can break out the air fryer and crank out some french fries if you like...  but wouldn't you rather be watching the game?

TIP:  Have some cheap to-go food storage containers, ziplocks and/or plastic bags at the ready for leftovers and to pack up something a guest brought but won't get washed (dirty serving dish/utensils).  Having it staged so guests can readily access it at their convenience means they won't have to track you down to retrieve it.

Hopefully the above gave you some ideas for your Super Bowl watch party.  Enjoy the game everybody and GO CHIEFS!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

Related Party Set Up

Related: Create a taco bar for that next big game viewing party

Related: Party Prepping on the cheap

Related: Bachelor on the Cheap Tip: Keep ice on hand

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Use a scrambled egg hack to make a quick and very tasty breakfast sandwich

20230109_090935By Mike Thayer

It's another Happy Monday.

After a great weekend of football which of course included the consumption of some impromptu nachos, this morning for breakfast I used my scrambled egg hack to make a very enjoyable fried bologna and egg sandwich.

It's such an easy hack, using an almost empty jar of cheesy goodness, dropping in a couple eggs, a splash of milk, salt, pepper and then shaking the heck out of it.  Eggs 'shaken, not stirred' (yep, I went James Bond) with cheese...

This takes all of five minutes...  Toast up a hamburger bun or whatever bread you have on hand, shake up the eggs, fry up a slice or two of bologna, just about any lunch meat will do, cook up the eggs and you've got a very tasty breakfast sandwich and minimal kitchen clean up.

Related: Scrambled Egg Hack

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Repurposing candle jars 8 ways

Candle Jars
There are so many ways you can repurpose candle jars

By Mike Thayer

You always need to have some candles around, for ambience, the aroma or when the power goes out.  If you're not into candles, maybe you should be, there are actually some great options out there these days.  Aromas like bourbon, Mahogany leather, spiced tobacco and even hemp are available.  There are even 'crackling' candles that mimic the sounds of a wood burning fire in the fireplace.

Then there's the gifting, family and or friends getting you a nice candle in a jar for Christmas.  Maybe they're trying to subtly trying to tell you something about the smell of your apartment, or maybe it's just a thoughtful gift...

But what do you do with that jar once the candle is used up?

Don't throw it away, there are all kinds of great uses for those jars!

But first things first, you have to clean the jar before repurposing.  Removing wax remnants and possibly some black soot isn't hard, but it can take awhile and is worth the effort.  To remove leftover wax, throw the candle jar in the freezer, overnight for smaller candles, 24 hours for larger ones.  The frozen wax should pop right off, use a butter knife to loosen if necessary.  The soot should come off easily with warm soap and water.  For more challenging black soot stains, break out the rubbing alcohol.  Remove any stickers that may be on the jar, goo-gone comes in handy here.  Once the wax and soot are removed from the jar, run it through the dishwasher.

Now you're ready to repurpose.

There's the obvious, buy a new candle without a jar and continue to use your jar as it was intended.  This is an especially good option for those seasonal, decorative jars with Halloween, Christmas, other holiday or misc., themes.  Change out the candle color, put in a scented candle, a crackling candle is great for those Christmas themed jars...  Don't throw away those decorative jars!

If you're into growing house plants, candle jars make great plant starter vessels.  Any plant that easily roots from a cutting will do well in a repurposed candle jar.  Expand your indoor garden with cuttings from Spider plants, Philodendron, Kalanchoe, Swiss Cheese plant, Coleus and/or Begonia, etc.  You're not limited to cuttings either, use your jar to start an avocado pit or lemon seeds.  In the spring, I often use old candle jars to soak some veggie and flower seeds in water overnight before planting them outside in the garden the next morning.

If you like to cook, old candle jars make great culinary jars.  An excllent addition in the kitchen, you can keep fresh parsley, basil, cilantro, dill, mint and other herbs at arm's length from the cutting board.  It's not only functional but it dresses up your kitchen too, visually and aromatically.   Treat herbs like cut flowers, put about an inch of water in the jar and snip the bottom of the herb stems, this will extend the life of the cuttings.  You can keep them on the counter when in use, then easily tuck them in the fridge with some plastic loosely draped over the top until your next meal.  Candle jars with lids are fantastic for the kitchen too, for storing spices.  I have some dedicated to my own spice blends, especially my secret rubs for grilling and BBQ.

Turn those jars into drinking glasses.  This is a bit eclectic, it's not like you're going to get a matched set of glasses unless you're REALLY into candles.  But you can't really get more functional than with this everyday use repurpose.  Candle jars come in all sorts of sizes and shapes, some work nicely for adult beverage short glasses.  I've even got a few that serve as double shot glasses.  I'm currently in search of candles where the jars would work as stemless wine glasses.   Old jars work great for your home bar set up too, especially for a party to hold toothpicks, accoutrements and those funky little umbrellas.

There's more to candle buying than just look, color, aroma...  The repurpose is key.  What role that jar will play in the future can determine the buy.

Old candle jars
Put those candle jars to work in the medicine cabinet!  This common shape can also serve as a double shot glass.

Candle jars make great Q-Tip, dental pick, other medicine cabinet item holders.  I used to use dixie cups to hold items like these in the medicine cabinet, but they tend to tip over too easily, creating a mess on the shelves and sometimes the floor to clean up.  Repurposing a small candle jar for this task eliminates that problem, the jars providing a heavier base that won't easily tip over from an awkward pull or an inadvertent bump.

Organize your desk/office with candle jar pencil/pen holders. Why pay for overpriced desk organizers when you have good looking candle jars that will do the same job?  Not just for pens and pencils I've also got a couple jars that hold business cards, one for mine, one for the cards from business contacts.

Related: Extend the life of highlighters, markers and pens with proper storage

Candle jars that came with lids are great additions to the Garage/shop.  Have a bunch of nuts, bolts, screws, nails etc., in a junk drawer or worse yet, messing up your tool box?  Tool boxes are for tools, not hardware.  Organize all those nuts, bolts, screws etc., with candle jars.  And the beauty of the lids, you can fasten them to the underside of a shelf or the side of a cabinet for out-of-the-way storage.  Just unscrew the jar from the secured lid to access what you need.

Repurposing candle jars
Store gift cards, it's a visual reminder rather than keeping them tucked away in your wallet until they expire.

You can go the decorative route with old candle jars, using them as a centerpiece on a coffee table or on a shelf.  You can go with the classic glass marbles look, sea shells on a base of sand, or the dreaded potpourri.  I know, most guys don't do potpourri to include yours truly, but it is an option and bachelorettes read this blog too.  Getting a bit more functional and borrowing from a desktop use of storing business cards, I have a jar on a bar table that contains gift cards and coupons.  And last but not least, you can put candy and/or chocolates in a candle jar.  Keep what you like in it for everyday use.  Put seasonal candies in it for the holidays.

So if you haven't been a candle person, become one.  They look good, the scented ones smell good, candlelit dinners with a date is a must and then there's the power outage thing.  All good reasons to have some candles on hand and you can repurpose the jars to boot!  The possibilities of using candle jars are almost endless.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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When is the last time you cleaned your garbage disposal?

Baking soda and vinegar
This combo is every bit as good as a commercial product, and WAY cheaper too!

By Mike Thayer

The garbage disposal, a common household appliance that does a dirty job.  They're handy if you don't like to throw away food scraps (I prefer to throw veggie scraps in a compost bin), but a nightmare if you clog one up. 

Garbage disposals do make the job of cleaning up the kitchen easier, but how clean is your disposal?  When it comes to cleanliness, this is an item that more often than not, gets overlooked.

The processes of cleaning the kitchen, rising dishes off for the dishwasher, hand washing other dishes, washing hands, rinsing sponges/brushes, etc., leaves a lot of people thinking all the warm water and soap used during clean up rinses all the food goo out of the disposal, giving you a 'clean' disposal.   

Not so.  Some folks don't realize how 'unclean' their disposal is until they catch a whiff of rotting food goo slime emanating from the sink.  Despite all the warm water and soap going through the appliance on a daily basis, there's still a buildup of food goo slime that takes place, especially on the underside of that splash guard.

Clean your garbage disposal every week or two, using a combination of baking soda, vinegar and citrus.  To get rid of the food goo, dump a 1/2 cup of baking soda into the disposal.  Follow that with 1 cup of white vinegar.  It's going to foam up and that foaming action = getting rid of goo.  Let that work for about 10 minutes.  Turn on the faucet and run your disposal.  Repeat the process to clean the splash guard, scrubbing it with an old toothbrush.  Rubber gloves are recommended, that food goo is gross.  Finally and to get that disposal smelling not just clean but GOOD, feed your disposal some chopped up citrus.  It can be oranges, lemons or limes, but NO SEEDS!  Chop the rinds up into small pieces too, you don't want to cause a clog.  Feed the disposal the citrus, faucet on, running the disposal.  Go with a slice of citrus at a time, until your disposal smells "Citrus Fresh."

TIP:  Run your disposal with cold water, not hot.  Your disposal actually has to work much harder when hot water is used.  Heat expands, cold contracts.  So food scraps + hot water = a bigger chore for you disposal, which can lead to clogs and premature motor burnout.  Cold water is best for your disposal and your pipes and bonus:  Your water heater isn't working as hard as a result, saving on the heat bill. 

What NOT to put down your garbage disposal.

The following items should not be put down your garbage disposal, they will lead to clogs, maybe not during that particular grind, but it will eventually, with food items getting tangled and wrapped around the disposal core.

  • Fibrous vegetables, like celery, artichokes, asparagus, lettuce, cabbage, potato peels and onion skins.
  • Bones, seafood shells.  Can you say, "Clog and premature motor burnout?"  Yes, yes you can...
  • Egg Shells.  My dad told me when I was young that egg shells help to keep the blades sharp.  He was wrong.
  • Chicken skin, fats and oils in general.  The small bits of such items from plate scrapings is not a big deal, but don't remove chicken skins in preparing a dish and throw them down the disposal.  If you don't want chicken skins, throw them away.
  • Banana peels.  This becomes a problem because the whole peel is put down, it's too much, all at once.  If you chop it up into little pieces you'd be fine, but it's easier to just throw it away or put it in the compost bin.
  • Seeds, pits, nuts.  Your disposal is kitchen hardy, not machine shop hardy.
  • Coffee grounds.  It may make your disposal smell better short term, but the grounds develop into a paste, sticking to the core of your disposal.
  • Rice, pasta, oats.  Again, the occasional small bits from plate scrapings is not a big deal, but don't be dumping whole portions of the stuff into the sink.  Rice, pasta and oats will continue to expand with the water used to run the disposal, creating a thick paste that's hard on your appliance.

With proper care and routine clean up, your disposal will last for years, clog free and smelling good. 

Up next, how clean is your washing machine? 

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Enjoy this post?

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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Extend the life of highlighters, markers and pens with proper storage

Storing highlighters, markers & pens properly
Store highlighters, markers & pens tip down

By Mike Thayer

You're at the office and you share desk space, you reach for a highlighter stored in one of those desktop pen/pencil holders and when you go to highlight something on an office memo, the highlighter is dry...  UGH! 

Shame on the office worker you share space with for putting a dry highlighter back in the holder and failing to break out a new one...  That's kind of like drinking the last of the milk and putting the carton back in the fridge, ya' know?...  But I digress...  The dry marker thing was totally preventable.  The highlighter dried out prematurely because it was stored wrong, tip up.

The only writing utensil that should be stored tip up is a pencil.  It keeps the point sharp on traditional pencils and there's no snap off with mechanical pencils.  With pencils, you don't have to worry about ink. 

Highlighters, Sharpies, markers and pens should be stored tip down to prevent them from drying out.  You've probably had that pen experience, you're writing, then suddenly, no ink...  you think it's a dead pen but you look at the insert and there are gaps in the ink...  Ink, air gap, ink, air gap...  This happens when a pen or marker is stored tip up.  You've been writing in black ink, but the only other pen option is blue ink so you don't reach for it...  You try to shake ink downward, but that doesn't work....  You end up having to grab for the other pen and finish that note in a two-tone presentation

Gravity is your friend.  Storing markers and pens tip down keeps the ink in contact with the writing tip, extending the life of the writing utensil.  That means ink always in the reservoir (pens) and felt tip fibers that are always moist (highlighters/markers) for those of you who live in Valley Center.

Exception to the rule.  Dual-ended markers, if you have any of those, should be stored horizontally.  That way, neither tip dries out prematurely from vertical storage. 

And when it comes to organizing  your pencils, pens, markers...  If we're just talking about a typical office environment and you're not a crafter, artist or in some profession that requires a large arsenal of writing utensils, one or two simple holders will suffice.  If you have to worry about clutter, then you have too many pencils, pens and markers.  Personally, I'm kind of a minimalist and don't need a matching set of desktop holders and organizers.  I'm good with an old coffee cup or a gifted decorative one I don't want to drink out of as shown in the image above.  It holds a more than adequate supply of writing utensils.

Extend the life of highlighters, markers and pens with proper storage - "Upside Down."

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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Sandwich baskets great for more than just sandwiches

By Mike Thayer

I hate doing dishes, even with a dishwasher available.  If there's a way to avoid doing dishes, even if it's simply rinsing off some plates and silverware and throwing them in the dishwasher, I'd just rather not.

20181228_084941Enter, Sandwich Baskets.

Whoever invented these things was a genius, I LOVE these things!  I have eight sandwich baskets sitting on top of my refrigerator at the ready, for whatever....  Able to hold a huge sandwich and a generous portion of fries, they're good for so much more. They're great for holding just about any kind of snack, no fuss, no mess...  Chips, popcorn, pretzels, nuts.  When you're done, just throw the parchment paper away, rinse off the basket and let dry for the next meal or snack.  They're not just for one person to use either.  Task the baskets to serve bread sticks or garlic bread, family style at the dinner table.  For a big Sunday family breakfast, serve bacon in a basket rather than dirtying up a plate.  They're space savers when it comes to storage (easily stackable), convenient to use, easy to wash, they're sturdier than paper plates and the best part, they're inexpensive. 

20181228_090532I picked up eight baskets at Dollar Tree for $5 (four sets of two at $1.25 each).  That's Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly and these baskets will last me a very long time.  I'll get multiple uses for serving up a vast variety of foods.  Just about any kind of finger food can go in a basket, chicken nuggets, tacos, onion rings, mozzarella sticks and marinara sauce....  Don't want bar food fare?  Slice up some fruit or toss in some veggies and dip, there's just so much you can serve in a basket.

Use them indoors, outdoors, get some for yourself, family use, parties, the backyard BBQ, picnics, casual holiday gatherings...

Pictured right, two bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sliders and hash browns....  It was another dose of YUM and super easy clean up!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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Did you add to your food reserve today?

By Mike Thayer

Did you have a grandma and grandpa that had a cellar or basement full of canned goods and food supplies? 

Ball_jarI did, they were the parents of six kids, a farming family, living the hard life through the Great Depression.  They used their life skills to get through some very tough times.  Lessons of preparedness practiced during the Great Depression continued in later years even during good times.  Keeping a food reserve came in handy for example when bad weather affected the corn harvest and money got tight.    If it wasn't a bad harvest one year, it might have been low prices in another. 

I have fond memories of my grandparent's home, grandpa's chair, the cuckoo clock, the pictures, and the open basement which included shelves stocked with those Ball canning jars packed with cucumber pickles, assorted vegetables, jams, etc.  My grandparents were always putting a little bit of food aside for whatever tough times might come down the road.

My gut, and it's substantial, is telling me that we're going to go through some very tough times again.  Don't take my word for it, do some homework and see what's coming for yourselves.  I sincerely believe things are going to get much worse for this country economically and politically before it gets better.  I hope I'm wrong, I really do.  But I was taught to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

So today, like I do everyday and since I don't can like my grandmother did, I made a small purchase to build my food reserve.  I spend a couple bucks a day on something, be it canned vegetables, a bag of rice, a box of salt.  If I'm out-and-about running an errand or two, I stop at a store and pick something up. 

Bottled Water
Put a few in the fridge for on-the-go use. The rest go on a shelf for later use.

Today I didn't 'can' though, I bought a 24 bottle pack of drinking water at Aldi $2.99.  It beats the price of water at Dillon's (Kroger brand), a 24 bottle pack for $3.59.   Tomorrow when I'm running some errands, I might get a couple cans of corn or green beans somewhere if I'm out-and-about.  Friday it might be a small bag of pasta I pick up if I'm doing things in the Walmart neck of the woods.

I treat my food reserve like a savings account.  It needs to build, it's not something to select ingredients from for tonight's meal.   It's for emergencies, for tougher times.

Why did I buy water when I've got it coming from the tap courtesy of the city?  Because you never know when a boil order or some other emergency might come and in fact the city of Wichita where I live, just went through a water boil advisory thanks to their 80+ year old water treatment plant.  When there's flooding, area towns issue boil orders.  It's comforting to know that you've got bottled water already on hand because guess what gets sold out first at the grocery stores?  Yep, water.  

Most of the bottled water on the shelves are good for about one year after purchase.  A person needs about a gallon of water a day.  Most of it to consume, a little to prepare food, a little to wash with, brush teeth with. 

Stocking up on water saves money, prevents hassle 

When it comes time to take a vacation, go to a sporting event, or a simple walk on a trail, I always pack some bottled water.  I'll  take some bottles of water from my food reserve with me so I don't have to buy the pricey stuff on the road.  Hotel water usually tastes like crap and you have no control over the quality.  With bottled water and a brand you trust, you know you have good water.  And here's an ewwwww factor, sometimes those rest stops or gas station restrooms aren't the cleanest..... Once in awhile you run into one of those "Why the heck is that clerk twiddling thumbs behind the counter when the restroom looks like this?" situations and guess what, their sink isn't working to boot.  Or how about attending a carnival or festival and the sanitizer gizmo is empty in the Johnny On The Spot?  So it's nice to have water on hand at all times in your vehicle for drinking or washing....  Using it like this is a good way to rotate your water stock too.  You take water from your food reserve nearing its expiration date with you on your travels and replace it with a fresh supply after vacation.

So what did you add to your food storage today?

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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Spruce up your drinks with home made syrups

By Mike Thayer

Vanilla Syrup
A vanilla syrup to have with my morning coffee

Regular readers know that I'm into flavored whiskeys, such as Revel Stoke Vanilla flavored whiskey .  I'm also into flavored coffee (hazelnut is my fave) and flavored tea (peach is SO good, but so is an Arnold Palmer). Heck, I like to flavor a simple glass of water, usually with a squeeze of fresh lime, sometimes I'll use one of those RealLime squeezer things and lately, it's been On The House Sweetened Lime Juice.

But I got to thinking, why pay extra for a flavored whiskey?  Why pay almost $4 for a bottle of sweetened lime juice?

Make your own sweetened syrup to add to your adult beverage, coffee, tea or water.  It's a great add to a smoothie too!

Today I'm making my own syrups, so far I've made a lime syrup and a vanilla syrup and they taste delicious.  They will keep in the refrigerator for better than two weeks and I'll have an assortment of syrups to choose from, spending pennies on the dollar compared to buying some kind of beverage that's already flavored or a store bought syrup.  I've got lime syrup for cocktails and to simply flavor a glass of water.  I've got vanilla syrup to flavor coffee, tea and yes, cocktails.  Seriously, why buy a vanilla flavored whiskey or vodka at $20 for a 750ml bottle when you can buy a Texas fifth (1.75L) for $14 and add a simple syrup to it?  Making your own syrup and adding it to a drink, be it a cocktail, coffee, tea, smoothie or water, saves you money without a sacrifice in flavor, and it doesn't take much time at all to make it!

Formula:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon flavoring

It's an easy formula, if you want more just double the 1-1-1 configuration.

Directions:

Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Continue to cook at a rapid simmer (that means you have to stir constantly for those of you who live in Haysville) for about 8 minutes.  You want the syrup to thicken up a bit.  Remove from heat, stir in the flavoring and let cool.  Once cool, transfer to a squeeze bottle (available at Dollar Tree for $1.25) and refrigerate. 

Adding one Tablespoon of syrup to any kind of drink changes the flavor profile in a very good way.  But it does add about 50 calories to whatever you're inhaling so if you're counting calories, you may want to either cut back on the sugar, or use a sugar substitute.  Flavor results will vary, but play with it, it'll still be good and cost saving.  That's next on my experimenting, cutting the sugar with some Monk Fruit sugar substitute which I hear is pretty good.

The flavor options are pretty much endless too...  The flavors of orange, lemon, cherry, mint and yes even chocolate would work well with so many drink options.  Don't limit yourself!  Have fun with it.  I haven't quite worked out the Hazelnut flavor for my morning coffee yet, but I will be making an attempt with Nutella here in a bit, and I won't have to add any sugar.

Spruce up your drinks with home made syrups, you'll thank yourself for saving some money AND delivering some great flavor that you did yourself.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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What to do with that leftover Easter ham - doctor up some Ramen

By Mike Thayer

Pork Ramen
If you don't have any pork flavored Ramen on hand, beef works too

Ramen soup, it's cheap, it's a budget food, a single-person's food, a plan 'B' food, a college dorm food, a don't-know-what-else-to-have-so-this-will-have-to-do food...

Don't just make it per the package instructions, liven things up!  And what a great way to use up some of those holiday ham leftovers...

Fire up the stove, heat up a sauce pan.  Throw in a tab of butter and some olive oil.  Next, rough chop some carrots and onions, throw them in the pan and let them cook a bit until they are tender crisp.  Toss in some of that leftover ham, chopped.  Grab a package of pork flavored Ramen soup (beef actually works too), put it in the pan with 2 cups of water. Add some garlic powder, a dash of black pepper, a dash of Louisiana hot sauce, a couple liberal dashes of Soy or Teriyaki sauce and 3 minutes later you've got a great bowl of soup!  Enjoy!  Other great adds to make your soup more robust with flavor is peas and/or mushrooms.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Using a plastic drawer set as a cold frame for the garden

Plastic Drawer Set
Use this in your garden

By Mike Thayer

I live in Kansas, so the temps vary big time.  In the spring months it could be 70 degrees one day and 32 degrees the next until Mother's Day, the last day on the Farmer's Almanac Calendar of when the danger of frost has passed.

Creating a cold frame can be intimidating though, the construction of wood frames, the use of plastics, perhaps an old storm window.  And the downside to building a cold frame such as this is it's set in a certain place in the yard.  Having a cold frame in an apartment or patio setting is not an easy thing to do.  Or is it...

Enter a cheat, the plastic drawer Cold Frame

Inexpensive Cold Frame
Seeds you start indoors can easily be hardened outside

Do you have one of those plastic drawer set on wheels that you no longer use?  Turn it into a cold frame.  Even if you don't have one of those on hand, they are inexpensive.  I picked one up today at Walmart for $20 for the sole purpose of using it as a cold frame, no construction required!   I've put all my starter pots that I started from seed indoors in it.  The drawers can be opened up during the day for ventilation and getting the starter plants acclimated to the great outdoors, then I can easily shut the drawers at night if there is a frost warning.  The top of the drawer set serves as a work surface.  On wheels, the 'cold frame' is mobile.  I can move it around to maximize sun exposure, or protect it from stormy weather (plus shutting the drawers).

Instant Cold Frame
Open the drawers by day, close at night

I could NOT have built a cold frame this mobile and easy to use for $20.  I've been able to house tomatoes, brussel sprouts, cucumbers and a variety of flowers in this easy peasy cold frame.  The three drawers provide ample space for all the seeds I've started indoors and will provide great protection from any frost warning, all I have to do is shut the drawers.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Easy Peasy Cold Frame
Ample storage

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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